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I use Alfred's complete book of scales, chords, arpeggios & cadences. For C major two-octave arpeggios they show different fingerings for the root position, 1st inversion and 2nd inversion. This is for the right hand.

Root position, starting with F1 on C: 1 2 3 1 2 3
First inversion, starting with F1 on E: 1 2 4 1 2 4
Second inversion, starting with F1 on G: 1 2 4 1 2 4

Personally, I prefer the fingering of the second inversion. The advantage is that the longest stretch (between G and C) is made by F1 and F2, and the thumb doesn't need to travel as far as in the official root position fingering.

My question is: Why do they (and others) teach this uncomfortable fingering for the root position and not the most comfortable fingering?


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You can play using the 2nd inversion but then you will have one more position shift. The point of these different inversions is to start with the thumb on the lowest note and minimize the number of transitions.

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If you try broken chords, as you should before learning arpeggios, the fingering should be pretty obvious. If you still don't get it, try playing the arpeggios or broken chords as block chords, playing all four fingers together.


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PS Maybe I was not fully clear. If I would play a two-octave arpeggio starting on C, I would prefer to simply play 2 4 1 2 4 1 instead of 1 2 3 1 2 3.

So why is the uncomfortable fingering for the root position recommended?


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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
You can play using the 2nd inversion but then you will have one more position shift. The point of these different inversions is to start with the thumb on the lowest note and minimize the number of transitions.

But what is the point of starting with the thumb on the lowest note? Why not start with F2 on the lowest note (see example above)?


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Because it makes more sense when you include the octave with your fifth finger in standard chord playing...


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Originally Posted by zrtf90
If you try broken chords, as you should before learning arpeggios, the fingering should be pretty obvious.

If you mean three note arpeggios, I have learned them well. I don't see how this relates to my question.

Originally Posted by zrtf90
If you still don't get it, try playing the arpeggios or broken chords as block chords, playing all four fingers together.

Of course, when playing four note block chords (root position), you use fingers 1 2 3 5. But one of my points is that the thumb needs to travel far when playing long arpeggios using fingers 1 2 3, and that is not the case when practising four note blocked chords.
So, still the same question, why not play four note block chords in the way that is most comfortable for four note block chords, and long arpeggios in the way that is most comfortable for long arpeggios?


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BTW, all white key arpeggios are the least comfortable and rather difficult to play properly. The best ones to learn proper arpeggio technique are the ones that have two black keys (A-flat major, D-flat major, E-flat major, F-sharp minor, G-sharp minor, C-sharp minor).

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Originally Posted by zrtf90
Because it makes more sense when you include the octave with your fifth finger in standard chord playing...

I don't see the point of letting the way blocked chords are played dictate the way in which long arpeggios are played. Each in its own best way, I would say.
But you may be correct in that this is the explanation of why they recommend this fingering for long arpeggios.


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Originally Posted by Animisha
PS Maybe I was not fully clear. If I would play a two-octave arpeggio starting on C, I would prefer to simply play 2 4 1 2 4 1 instead of 1 2 3 1 2 3.

So why is the uncomfortable fingering for the root position recommended?
The standard fingering uses 5 at the top to have fewer transitions.

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by Animisha
PS Maybe I was not fully clear. If I would play a two-octave arpeggio starting on C, I would prefer to simply play 2 4 1 2 4 1 instead of 1 2 3 1 2 3.

So why is the uncomfortable fingering for the root position recommended?
The standard fingering uses 5 at the top to have fewer transitions.

Yes, that is true. My fingering is a bit more clumsy at the top: 2 4 1 2 4 1 2 1 4 2 1 4 2


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The standard fingering will also be more useful when arpeggios are encountered in music without having to shift hands first. Scale and arpeggio fingerings aren't taught to make scales and arpeggios easier but to facilitate playing pieces.

Last edited by zrtf90; 03/05/22 08:08 AM.

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I get it. Thank you! ­čÖĆ


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I think the fingering you don't like is chosen because it's easier to pass the thumb under F3 than under F4.

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It is really a matter of practice and being used to. I dont find the 123 to be more difficult. But the main reason is that when you will increase speed, the thumb under is to a large extent replaced by a hand translation which is much more faster. In that situation keeping the 123 to play CEG is much more convenient than using 241.

That said and to make things more complicated, in fact with real music you may need, in some cases, to use a different fingering than the standard one, though as a beginner you probably wont encounter such cases. It is usefull to get used to use different fingering with various configurations.


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Originally Posted by Sidokar
But the main reason is that when you will increase speed, the thumb under is to a large extent replaced by a hand translation which is much more faster. In that situation keeping the 123 to play CEG is much more convenient than using 241.

Hi Sidokar, what do you mean by "hand translation"?


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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Sidokar
But the main reason is that when you will increase speed, the thumb under is to a large extent replaced by a hand translation which is much more faster. In that situation keeping the 123 to play CEG is much more convenient than using 241.

Hi Sidokar, what do you mean by "hand translation"?

It means that instead of passing your thumb under, you actually move your hand horizontally with a short jump. When the tempo is fast enough, it will sound like legato when in reality it is not. Of course when the tempo is really slow, you still need to do some form of thumb under in order to keep the legato, unless you use the pedal. There are plenty of videos on that. This one explains it quite well. You can also listen to Zhdanov arpeggio playing video for some more advanced tips.



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Thank you! cool


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Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Sidokar
But the main reason is that when you will increase speed, the thumb under is to a large extent replaced by a hand translation which is much more faster. In that situation keeping the 123 to play CEG is much more convenient than using 241.

Hi Sidokar, what do you mean by "hand translation"?

It means that instead of passing your thumb under, you actually move your hand horizontally with a short jump. When the tempo is fast enough, it will sound like legato when in reality it is not.


1.This is a wonderful video with a terrible confusing title. The teacher must not only show correctly, but explain in words as accurately as possible - which in this case does not take place in the title. The real explanation is hidden between 227 comments. One wrong phrase - and a student can poke around at the piano for decades. The title should have been:
HOW NOT TO KEEP STATIC AND INTENSE THE THUMB UNDER THE PALM.

2.The pianist's hand and fingers must breathe; this means when the thumb comes under the palm, the distance between the fingers decreases naturally (in no case by intentional squeezing of the fingers).
- 0:26

- 5:22

Last edited by Nahum; 03/05/22 01:00 PM.
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I have a follow-up question. How important is it to strictly follow the given fingering for finger 3 and finger 4 when playing long arpeggios?

Furthermore, I find that the given fingering is not the same everywhere. For instance, in Alfred's book F major 2nd inversion RH says 1 2 4 1 2 4 5 whereas a file that I downloaded from Piano Street says 1 2 3 1 2 3 5.

Can I choose which fingering suits my fingers like best, or is it important that I follow Alfred's fingering?


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